As the ad tech industry continues to evolve, publishers have a seemingly endless number of ad formats to choose from. In the face of users’ ever-growing banner blindness, it is crucial that you as a publisher deliver the most impactful ad layouts to your audience. That being said, it is important to match the correct ad formats and layouts to the right audience, creating a win-win situation for everyone, users and advertisers alike.
Here are four high impact ad formats every publisher should consider:
1. In-Article and In-Feed Video Ads
In-article ads are videos that are embedded within a publisher’s content, usually between paragraphs. As the user scrolls down, the ad unit appears, and the video automatically plays. Keeping user experience in mind, the video is muted until the user opts to turn on the audio. In-feed ads share the same concept but appear in social media feeds (without the styling that mimics the medium in which they appear).
- Overall, video ads perform better in terms of generating higher CPM rates.
- Opt-in nature means that the ads are non-intrusive, and users retain control.
- The native ad format means that users are less aware they are interacting with an ad, ultimately increasing user experience.
2. Web Interstitials
Web interstitials are full-screen ads that appear when a user enters a new webpage (or clicks on a link that takes them to a different page within the site). The user can then either close the ad (and continue consuming content) or click on the ad, which will take them to the advertiser’s landing page.
While a full-page ad may seem intrusive, web interstitials have the user in mind. They automatically pre-load, have a clear exit option, and have a fixed frequency cap—meaning that impressions are capped at one per hour per user.
- These ads are high impact, which translates to increased user engagement and high CPM and viewability rates.
- Web interstitials are compliant with the Better Ads Standards
- A clear exit option makes it easy for users to opt-out of the ad
3. Adhesion Ads
Adhesion ads are those “sticky” ad units that sit at the bottom of a web browser as the user scrolls through a website. Because these ad units follow users as they navigate through a website, they are highly viewable, meaning that advertisers will pay more for these impressions.
- Users can exit the ad, making them non-intrusive.
- Ad size is customizable.
- By default, adhesion ads have high viewability, which translates to a higher CTR.
- These ad units improve a publisher’s domain overall viewability score over time, which means greater long-term revenue gains.
4. Native Advertising
Native advertising is the concept of creating ads that are so cohesive with a publisher’s content that the user feels the ad belongs there. This means that the ad matches the publisher’s layout, font, and color scheme.
There are three main types of native ads:
- In-Feed Ads (which we discussed above)
- Paid Search Ads
- Content Recommendations
Paid search ads are the ad listings that appear at the top of a user’s Google search results. They are used to promote businesses and e-commerce sites based on the user’s current location and what they’re searching for. As for content recommendations, they are those “Recommended for You” links at the end of articles. These are paid discovery links distributed by content amplification networks which help increase user traffic.
- Native ads are cohesive with a page’s content, making them non-disruptive.
- They are a great way around ad blockers.
- Higher engagement rates, which can translate to increased page monetization.
Okay, So What’s Next?
Knowing about high impact ad units is one thing but implementing them onto your site is another. Publishers end up switching between ad layouts to see which one results in higher revenue, or they just go with their intuition. More often than not, publishers end up sticking with what’s working for them.
However, there’s a problem with these strategies. Without proper A/B testing, publishers lack the empirical data that allows them to optimize their ad layouts properly and, in turn, their ad revenue.
It’s important to utilize software that supports simultaneous, real-time A/B testing of ad layouts on a small percentage of users. This is your defense against quick bounce rates, retention drops, and crashed sessions. This type of technology will monitor events like session duration, the number of pages the user viewed within a session, and, of course, the performance of the ads.